Brilliant fall apples
Sound Consumer | October 2012
It's always hard to say goodbye to the luscious berries, cherries and peaches of summer, but true fruit-lovers take heart in one of the jewels of autumn: the lovely apple. Like the season itself, these fall fruits are crisp and colorful.
"The Forgotten Fruits Manual & Manifesto — Apples," estimates that 86 percent of the thousands of different apples that existed before 1900 have been lost. Only 11 varieties account for 90 percent of the apples sold in supermarkets today, and 41 percent of those are Red Delicious. Here, we praise a sampling of our diverse selection at PCC.
Sweet, with rich flavors of pear and spice. Braeburns hold up well in cooking — they're good for apple cakes or savory dishes such as pork stew.
A native Washington cultivar believed to be a cross between Red and Golden Delicious, Cameos are nutty with sweet undertones and a tender skin that snaps cleanly to the bite. Good for eating fresh, pies and baking. They resist browning when sliced, so they're also great for fresh salads.
Fujis contain higher sugar levels than most apples, making them one of the sweetest varieties. They are exceptionally crisp, with a sugary flavor that resembles that of freshly pressed apple juice. Fujis have a long shelf life — they can last between 5 to 6 months when kept refrigerated.
Crisp, mild and juicy with vanilla undertones, the Gala doesn't turn brown as fast as other apples when cut — so it's great for salads. Not as good for baking.
A late-season apple, this cross between a Gala and Braeburn is crunchy and has a tangy-sweet zing.
A cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious, Jonagolds work well with Granny Smiths in pie, thanks to sweet melon and honey notes and firm, juicy flesh.
"Explosively crisp" is the Honeycrisp's moniker, and it's well-deserved.
"It snaps. The piece of apple almost pops off into your mouth," says University of Minnesota professor Jim Luby, who helped breed the Honeycrisp. It's an all-purpose apple with a sweet-tart bite that's anything but subtle. It's great eaten plain or as the star of any recipe.
The Opal will be available organically for the first time this season — and it's a game-changer, according to PCC's produce merchandiser, Joe Hardiman.
It has firm flesh and a bright yellow color with a hint of orange and is sweet and tart — but in different ways than we're used to. A crunchy bite begins with a warm, buttery sweetness, then finishes with a slightly tart tang that leaves your palate totally refreshed.
Pink LadyŽ (Cripps Pink)
These apples are left on the tree longer than any other variety, which allows them to develop their characteristic pink hue, crisp bite, and sweet/tart, champagne-like flavor. They resist browning, so they're great in salads or sliced for snack.
A cross between a McIntosh and Golden Delicious, this crisp and juicy apple ripens early, in late summer. It has pale yellow or white skin, with bright red stripes fading to blush. Its crisp, juicy flesh and sweet, tart flavor make it excellent for snacking, but it's great in pies and desserts as well.
Another early-ripening, bright-red apple with a sweet, rich, spicy flavor. This late-summer fruit is unique in that the flesh is very crisp. The fruit can be held in storage at least six weeks without loss in quality or firmness.
Our local, organic growers
PCC gets local, organic apples throughout the season from farmers with whom we have wonderful, longstanding relationships.
- George and Apple Otte of River Valley Organics in Tonasket, Wash. have been trusted partners for more than a decade and provide PCC with delicious Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Cameo apples.
- Scott and Lupe Leach have provided apples and pears from their farm in Zillah, Wash. since the 1990s.
- Mark LaPierre, whose blueberries, cherries and nectarines you enjoyed this summer, also provides PCC with Gala, Fuji and Pink LadyŽ brand (Cripps Pink) apples. View the video
Apples like it cool, and they ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if refrigerated so don't store them on the kitchen counter. Store them someplace cool and dark, preferably at 35 to 40° F. A garage or basement would do here in the Puget Sound area, where the temperature doesn't often get below freezing.
Of course, if you have room in your fridge, store them there. The crisper drawer of the fridge will keep apples fresh quite a long time if the drawer contains some humidity. Don't store them with onions; they'll pick up off flavors.
An apple a day ...
- Apples are full of many antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits. They've been associated with decreased risk of several common chronic diseases, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
- Most of an apple's antioxidants are found in its skin.
- Danish researchers discovered that apples can give the health of your intestines as well as your immune system a boost by increasing the numbers of good gut bacteria.
- Eating apples can be beneficial for improving brain health and diminishing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Phytochemicals abundant in apple skins appear to kill or inhibit the growth of at least three different types of human cancer cells: colon, breast and liver. Apples also are associated with prevention of pancreatic, bowel and prostate cancer.